Colour and scent are the hallmarks of Sarah Raven's style – and they are simple luxuries that everyone can bring into their garden. A Year Full of Flowers reveals the hundreds of hardworking varieties that make the garden sing each month, together with the practical tasks that ensure everything is planted, staked and pruned at just the right time. Tracing the year at her home, Perch Hill in East Sussex, she shares the lessons learned from years of plant trials and explains the methods that have worked for her.
Carolyn Dunster's Cut & Dry shows how to make stunning bouquets from dried flowers, perfect for occasions that require long-lasting displays. The book is aimed at a new generation who are discovering this classic craft, and includes ideas for the home, for gifts and presentations. It suggests the best combinations of colour and texture to brighten up any space in any season.
Arthur Parkinson is a gardener and author of The Pottery Gardener and The Flower Yard.
The author of Wanderland looks at non-orthodox perspectives on landscape, and considers the richness and wisdom they bring. Born in Britain to Indian parents from South Africa, and raised in Canada, Jini has contributed to anthologies, penned a guidebook, and her texts and poems have been displayed in exhibitions at London’s Southbank Centre and at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. As a travel writer, in 2019 she was named a National Geographic Woman of Impact. Her work explores a cross-cultural, cross-genre space where place, spirituality and culture meet.
It’s nearly 40 years since Francis Moore Lappé’s Diet for a Small Planet was published, linking what we eat and what we do to the planet. As countries race to embrace net zero targets, the role of farming and farmers, and the way we manage the landscape more generally, is under scrutiny. Is a healthy diet for humans the same as a healthy diet for a zero-carbon future? Should we be paying farmers for ‘public goods’, such as soil restoration, wildlife conservation and carbon sequestration? How might that transform the landscapes of the future – in Britain, Europe and elsewhere? And what does that mean for the hundreds of millions of small farmers in countries like India – site of some impassioned protests in recent months?
Cassandra Coburn is author of Enough: How Your Food Choices will Save the Planet; Sarah Bridle's book is Food and Climate Without the Hot Air. Martin Wright, former editor of Green Futures, is an environment journalist and photographer.
Nature and travel writer Horatio Clare was committed to hospital under Section 2 of the Mental Health Act after suffering hypomania in the Alps while on a family holiday, and locked in a psychiatric ward. His book is a gripping account of how the mind can lose touch with reality, how we can fall apart and how we can be healed – or not – by treatment. It vividly describes the intensity of a manic experience, as well as its perils and strangeness, shot through with the love, kindness, humour and care of those who looked after him, and it is partly an investigation into how we understand and treat acute crises of mental health. Horatio Clare talks to Beth Underdown, novelist and Lecturer in Creative Writing.
Join us on a journey to reclaim real bread, from the ancient grains that humans have eaten for 10,000 years, to meeting the farmers who still hand-scythe their harvest in the Nile Delta, to understanding modern farming practices in the American prairies and talking with the millers of West Wales. As well as documenting the history of bread, Rob Penn set himself a challenge to become the family baker – to sow, harvest and thresh two ancient grains and then bake the slow fermented sour dough in his own wood-fired oven. The woodsman and cyclist Robert Penn's previous book was The Man who Made Things out of Trees. Andy Fryers is Hay Festival Sustainability Director.
The inconvenient truth is that we are causing the climate crisis with our carbon intensive lifestyles and fixing it will affect all of us. But it can be done.
The economist addresses the actions we all need to take: personal, local, national and global. Reducing our own carbon footprint is the first step. We, the ultimate polluters, must pay a carbon price that applies to everything and everywhere, from the flights we take to the food we eat and the land we farm. And we need to embrace sustainable economic growth without harming other aspects of the environment. We must find a solution, because everything is at stake.
Dieter Helm is Professor of Energy Policy at the University of Oxford, and Fellow in Economics at New College, Oxford. He is in conversation with Carys Roberts, Chief Executive of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).
How do you like your water – frozen or salty? In Ice Rivers, glaciologist Jemma Wadham tells the story of frozen landscapes across the globe, explaining how they are melting at an accelerating rate. In The Brilliant Abyss, Helen Scales talks about our relationship with the deep sea, how we imagine, explore and exploit it. It is the last, vast wilderness on the planet, home to fantastic creatures but also a space exploited by humans for minerals and food.
Jemma Wadham is Professor of Glaciology at University of Bristol. Helen Scales is a marine biologist, diver, broadcaster and author. Andy Fryers is Hay Festival Sustainability Director.
When Pete’s parents moved from Cyprus to Birmingham in the 1960s, hoping for a better life, they had no money and only a little English. They opened a fish-and-chip shop called The Great Western Fish Bar. That's where Pete learned about coin-operated machines, male banter and Britishness. Shy and introverted, he stopped speaking from age 4 to 7, and found refuge in songs from Top of the Pops and Dial-a-Disc. As time passed, he was horrified by his guilty secret: his parents were Greek, but all the things that excited him were British, sparked by Don’t go Breaking my Heart, Going Underground, Come On Eileen and every other chart hit blaring out of the chip-shop radio.
In a one-off musical event, Cardiff virtuoso guitarist and singer-songwriter Gareth Bonello, best known as The Gentle Good, will join Pete as the (Broken) Greek chorus, performing interpretations of songs that feature in Broken Greek, and will enact key scenes as Pete reads an extract from the book.
Join the Children’s Laureate on location in Kingley Vale Woodland as she talks about the final book in her Wizards of Once series, Never and Forever, and one of the main inspirations behind the books: the magic of trees and woodland. Live Q&A follows.
On turning 80, David Hockney sought out rustic tranquillity for the first time: a place to watch the sunset and the changing seasons; a place to enjoy simple pleasures, undisturbed and undistracted: "We have lost touch with nature rather foolishly as we are a part of it, not outside it". So when Covid-19 and lockdown struck, it made little difference to life at the centuries-old Normandy farmhouse where he had set up a studio the previous year, in time to paint the arrival of spring. In fact, he relished the enforced isolation. His book affirms the capacity of art to divert and inspire, based on a wealth of conversations and correspondence with Martin Gayford, his long-time collaborator. Their exchanges are illustrated by a selection of Hockney’s new Normandy drawings and paintings, many previously unpublished. Martin Gayford is art critic of The Spectator. His books include A History of Pictures (with David Hockney) and Shaping the World: Sculpture from Pre-History to Now (with Antony Gormley).
A journey of discovery through the natural world with the bushcraft and survival legend takes us into the British countryside and across continents, teaching us how to tune our senses, enhance our experience of nature, and understand our place within it. Guiding us through practical fieldcraft tips, Ray Mears explains how we can learn from the creatures with which we share the planet, from the stealth of the leopard to the patience of the crocodile, and even the colour-changing camouflage of the octopus.
In conversation with Yvonne Witter, Ordnance Survey Get Outside Champion, leader of the Peak District Mosaic group and one of the BBC's Woman's Hour Power List 2020.
A book about walking in ancient places, in the footsteps of the ancestors, reaching back in time, to find ourselves, and our place in the world. The academic, writer and broadcaster explores what we can learn about the very earliest Britons – from their burial sites. Although we have very little evidence of what life was like in prehistoric times, we can deduce a great deal from the bones and funerary offerings left behind, preserved in the ground for thousands of years. Told through seven burial sites, this prehistory of Britain teaches us about ourselves and how we came to be on this island.
For hundreds of years, we have lived as if the Earth were infinite. We exploited new frontiers, exhausted their resources, then moved on. It's a pattern repeated in forestry, fisheries, mining and agriculture. Now we are transferring this destructive approach to technology, imagining there is an infinite capacity for renewable materials. Bioethanol and biodiesel can replace the transport fuels we use. Biokerosene can take the guilt out of flying. Heating oil and coal can be replaced with wood. But by doing this, food and fuel and industrial materials are in competition with each other. In reality, there is no substitute for consuming less and living within this planet's means. What are the ethical and economic shifts required to accept the finite nature of our world?
George Monbiot is an author, journalist and environmental activist. He is in conversation with the co-director of Green New Deal UK and Winner of the Global Citizen Prize UK’s Hero Award, 2020.
From climbing trees and making dens to building sandcastles and pond-dipping, many of the activities we associate with a happy childhood take place outdoors. And yet, many children today are so alienated from nature that they can't identify the commonest birds or plants. They are shuttled between home and school and spend very little time in green spaces, let alone roaming free. The nature writer draws on his own experience as a parent and a forest school volunteer to explore the relationship between children and nature. He will also showcase some of the best of British and Irish nature writing in a new anthology, The Wild Isles, which juxtaposes extracts from much-loved classics and passages of contemporary writing.
Patrick is in conversation with Mya-Rose Craig, aka Birdgirl, ornithologist, campaigner, founder of Black2Nature and author of We Have a Dream.
The New Yorker journalist and environmentalist, best known for the Pulitzer Prizewinning The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, meets biologists trying to preserve the world's rarest fish, engineers turning carbon emissions to stone in Iceland, Australian researchers developing a 'super coral' that can survive on a hotter globe, and physicists who are contemplating shooting tiny diamonds into the stratosphere to cool the earth, changing the sky from blue to white. Inspiring and darkly comic, the book examines the challenges we face and the potential for solving them.
Alok Jha is the science and technology correspondent at The Economist and author of The Water Book.
John Keats, who died 200 years ago at just 25, is one of Britain’s most enigmatic poets and this biography by Lucasta Miller, critic and author of The Brontë Myth, excavates the backstories of nine familiar works. The epitaph Keats composed for his own gravestone – Here lies one whose name was writ in water – seemingly damned him to oblivion. He took a battering from the conservative press, yet in 1818 he wrote, "I think I shall be among the English Poets after my death". A lower-middle-class outsider from a dysfunctional family, his energy and love of language enabled him to reach the heart of English literature. A freethinker and a liberal at a time of repression, his work has retained its originality through the generations.
In Bright Star, Green Light, Jonathan Bate interweaves the lives of John Keats and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The latter was profoundly influenced by Keats, using the poet's lines in the title Tender is the Night. These two great writers both died young, loved to drink, were plagued by tuberculosis and haunted by their first love – and were the young Romantic figures of their twinned centuries. They talk to Miranda Seymour, author of Mary Shelley and In Byron's Wake.
The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), is the 26th time the UN countries have met to discuss climate change. Yes, there have been 25 previous conferences that have debated what to do and yet little progress has been made. We need firm, binding actions, not just words, so what should Britain, as host of the November conference in Glasgow, put on the agenda to ensure that actions with impact are agreed and delivered? UK Government Cabinet member Alok Sharma is President of COP26, Christiana Figueres is a founder of the Global Optimism group, was head of the UN climate change convention when the Paris agreement was achieved in 2015 and is co-author of The Future We Choose: The Stubborn Optimist's Guide to the Climate Crisis. Glenys Stacey is chair of the newly created Office for Environmental Protection in the UK Parliament. They are in conversation with Peter Lacy, author of Waste to Wealth: The Circular Economy Advantage.
The anthropologist, winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize for Into the Silence, discusses his new book on Colombia's complex past, present, and future, through the story of the great Río Magdalena. The river represents the political history of Colombia, home to the greatest ecological and geographical diversity on the planet. As he travels its length, he encounters people who have overcome years of conflict, informed by indigenous wisdom and an enduring spirit of place. Only in Colombia can a traveller wash ashore in a coastal desert, ascend narrow tracks through dense tropical forests and reach verdant Andean valleys rising to ice-clad summits. This wild and impossible geography finds fuses perfectly with the Colombian spirit: restive, potent, at times placid and calm, at others tortured and twisted. He talks to journalist Rosie Boycott.
Join the farmer/author/broadcaster on a tour of his Cotswold farm. Did you know that a shearer can shear 200 sheep in a day? Or that robots can milk cows? Animal lovers and budding farmers can learn where food comes from, peek inside a combine harvester, and discover incredible facts about farm animals.
From the seemingly familiar tomato and dandelion to the eerie mandrake and Spanish ‘moss’ of Louisiana, via the early histories of beer and the contraceptive pill, we delve into the fascinating science of plants and how their worlds are intricately entwined with our own history, culture and folklore. Jonathan Drori is an author, scientist and executive TV producer. His previous book was Around the World in 80 Trees.